Weekly Stickies

dustpuppy uses 69% of the total household electricity.





On AIX, in order for GCC to produce POSIX-compliant code, you need to use the -pthreads flag, even if the code you’re compiling doesn’t use threads.

We have a diesel-powered two-stage shredder / hammermill at our big operations facility.  The first stage is a hammermill that pounds the crap out of anything dumped in.  The second stage is a shredder that slices everything into tiny 3mm triangles.  The scrap is sent to be recycled.  The mahcine is used to destroy discarded data equipment like servers, racks, tape drives, hard drives, furniture, etc.  We also have a very low emissions incinerator to destroy magnetic tapes since they can’t be recycled.  But all paper products get shredded and recycled, except processed checks, pay stubs, and envelopes – those, like the tapes, are burned and the heat used to heat the building in winter.

install nethack

Change “silly” to “ridiculous” in quote from Out Of The Groove

Lol – I tried to call something a “heap of stinking junk.”  I ended up calling it a “Steep of hinking jump.”  That reminds me of the time I called my friend in high school a “tree-humping hickey” instead of a “tree-hugging hippie.”

I’d like to find an organ with diverse enough registration that one could perform Leopold Stokowski’s arrangement of Modest Mussorgsky’s Night on Bald Mountain.  I could just imagine how the brass section of that piece would sound on the pedal reeds of the Sydney Town Hall Organ.  Tromba 32, Double Trumpet 32, Trumpet 16, etc.  I doubt that the Contra Trombone 64 could add anything although it certainly adds a very distinctive presence to the pedal points of Toccata and Fugue in D Minor.

The sign on our ice dispenser in the copy room reads “ICE DISPENSER.”  While I appreciate having a nice big sign telling me what that machine is, the sign is nearly scraped clean.  Only the outline left by the cruft that stuck to the adhesive is still visible.  This causes my semi-functioning brain to plug in all sorts of wild readings.  When I walked up to the machine this afternoon, it read as “homeliness.”  As I was walking away, I read “LOL dispenser.”  I totally think we need some LOL dispensers.  Those would rock!

Coolest Sun SPARC feature ever:  automatic bytesex sensing.  If you drop a Sun PCI card in a Sun4U box, it will speak on the PCI bus native bigendian.  If you drop a PC PCI card in said box, it will speak in PC littleendian format.  The UPA/PCI bridge auto-senses this within two bytes of transmission and automatically switches the addressing mode to little-endian for that slot.  Note that the bytesex conversion only affects addressing – not data transmission.  That’s the responsibility of the driver to address.  All Solaris and SPARC Linux drivers for PC hardware have code to deal with little-endian I/O on SPARC PCI bus.

SBus hardware is Sun native bigendian and so doesn’t need any swabbing.

Learn LISP.

I wonder what the Commonwealth hackers think about the use of the title given that “hacker” is Commonwealth mainstream slang for a wad of phlegm.

Lol.  I got asked today, “Are you one of the Steves?”  It turns out that since there are three Conversions analysts named Steve, everyone refers to generic male conversions analysts as “Steves.”

Get Copy of The Myhtical Man-Month.

Lol – whenever I hear “Man-1” or “Man-2” for first and second degree manslaughter, respectively on TV crime dramas, I invariably think of Sections 1 and 2 of the UNIX Programmers Manual.  Section 1 is General Commands and Section 2 is System Calls.

I use 1TBS (a.k.a. K&R-style) indentation in C and Java, and Allman style in C++.

dustpuppy’s onboard SiI 3112 SATA-RAID controller will NOT work in *BSD.  It MIGHT work in Linux.

Lol.  “Fat, drunk, and stupid” is the new motto of the Conversions Team.

Lol.  A suit lady in her office keeps asking about “verbage.”  Someone ought to tell her that “verbage” isn’t a word.  (“Verbiage,” however, is.)

I wasn’t going to have coffee today.  But then I tried to code.  And then I got coffee.

For hysterical raisins, one should not create subdirectories under /mnt.  /mnt should be an empty mount point.

Admins should use /media instead to create permanant mount points for removable media.

Lol – I thought of a useless but fun bit of code.  It would only work in real mode and only on byte-addressible architectures. (e.g. x86).

1.  Get the lowest addressable instruction address.

2.  Get the highest addressable instruction address.

3.  Calculate the size of the memory space by subtracting the lowest address from the highest.

4.  Generate a random number less than the size of the memory space.

5.  Use th newly-generated number as an offset and jump to lowest address+offset.

6.  See what executes.

Most likely the system will crash but you never know what code you may magically jump into.

I think the final verdict on OS selection for dustpuppy is to remain with CentOS 5.5 but install a fresh copy without using LVM.  That should eliminate the random filesystem lossage.


My boss looks like a very thin Hugh Laurie.


Yayyy!!! I finally get to write some code!

Here’s a function that offsets batch runs by a number of seconds equal to the least significant digit of the year.  So now in 2010, all batches run simultaneously.  Next year, they will be 1 second apart.  I have no idea why this is needed.  It doesn’t seem to make any difference when batches are submitted – it’s batch work so they’re processed in sequence, according to task priority and available CPU cycles, regardless of when they arrived.

You can tell the difference between my SQL code and my Indian coworker’s:  Mine’s all nice and column aligned with lots of whitespace and all uppercase.  His is whatever case he feels like and very inconsistent with whitespace usage.  He says it’s job security.  I’m a contractor so I don’t have to worry about that.

In a big way, Private is the strongest member of the team.  He not only took down the Skorca single-handedly, but he showed that he wasn’t willing to compromize his morals, even in the face of a direct order (ref. Truth Ache).  But probably the most telling is that he was willing to leave the love of his life for his duty (ref. Merry Madagascar).  That’s something that Kowalski and Skipper are clearly incapable of doing (ref. Gone in a Flash and The Falcon and the Snow Job).

Lol – lady walking past my cube talking on her cell phone – “Yeah, it’s a urinary tract infection – I bet that’s what you’ve got!”

The motto of the Grand Lodge F&AM Wisconsin is “Friendship, Morality, and Brotherly Love.”  The motto of the United Grand Lodge of England is “Audi, Vide, Tace.”  (Latin for “Hear, See, and Be Silent.”)

“If you are not unclear, just leave the default.”

– sage advice from my Indian coworker.

Lol.  Random heavy breathing on the PA after a call this morning.  Someone forgot to hang up the phone.

Note to windows users who switch to Linux:  High memory usage by the Kernel is normal.  It’s mostly “reserved” which means that it will be allocated to programs as needed.  Most newer memory monitors take this into account when giving memory usage figures but examining the output of free, you may see ridiculously high usage for kernel memory.

I had a dream that a government experiment in northern California caused the Earth to lose its magnetic fields.  As a result, time was all hosed:  certain parts of time were sliding backward while others remained at their proper rates.  Example:  My watch had a date from 2006, the garden had bell peppers and aphids, my computer was the old Alienware instead of my new one, and the Sun workstation wouldn’t boot because of clock skew.  Also, one day it was summer, and the next it was Christmas.  Because of the lack of a magnetic field, there were no Van Allen belts to protect us from the massive bursts of gamma radiation from space.  We had to convince my idiotic uncle to come inside to get out of the path of the balls of radioactive particles.  And we were pissed that Grandmother wouldn’t turn off the golf channel long enough for us to watch CNN, despite the golf being interrupted frequently by the EAS.

Huh.  It’s too early for sysadmin tasks:  I just killed a perfectly good dump job because I thought it had run out of disk space.  It hadn’t – it was happily running.

Still looking for a donation of a DLT, LTO, DDS-4, etc. tape drive.  Let me know if you know of someone who has one they don’t want anymore.

That was surreal.  Two people using staplers at exactly the same time on either side of me.  Like one big ka-clink in stereo.


Obtain a copy of Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software

Find out why innd mangles the active file after every modification.  Or lock it to read-only.


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  1. #1 by Phillip on September 20, 2010 - 12:40 AM

    Sadly, alt.swedish.chef.bork.bork.bork doesn’t have any new videos. BUT, there are 2 new ones on YouTube.

    I needs mah Swedish Chef!!

    • #2 by Joshua on September 20, 2010 - 7:42 AM

      Yeah I noticed. I was able to download the archives for it but upstream hasn’t fed me any articles from it. Many are like that, sadly. alt.fan.lemurs has some really funny stuff but nothing new for about five years. USENET was important before the Internet, when EFNet, Fidonet, UUNet, and ARPA were the big profiders and used store-and-forward protocols like UUCP to transfer messages. NNTP is a very capable and I think underused protocol. I’ve noticed that, for example, pulling in RSS feeds over HTTP and then repackaging them as Usenet messages for store-and-forward mode NNTP ends up being more efficient for local mass distribution that a purely pull-based method like multiple HTTP requests, even with a caching proxy. Frink!

      • #3 by Joshua on September 20, 2010 - 7:42 AM


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